Touch the Soil News #805 (Feature photo – The National Congress Building of Brazil – a government unable to exert sufficient control over exploitation of the indigenous people in rural areas – copyright free)
Far away in the rainforests and hinterlands of Brazil, agribusinesses and big finance can be found plundering the environment and the indigenous folks who live there.
Recently, a delegation of 30 human rights, development and rural experts collaborated in an unprecedented visit (investigation) to the Brazilian hinterlands. The goal was to uncover rumors of gross misconduct towards indigenous folks from large soybean farm enterprises. See the report summary here: http://www.fian.org/en/news/article/caravana_matopiba_uncovers_alarming_human_and_environmental_costs_of_agribusiness/
The investigation was an international fact finding mission to help further shed light on the mischief that takes place when large industrial (monoculture) agriculture (with the help of local corrupt dignitaries) removes local people from their land.
In a broad summary, here is what the investigations discovered:
- High levels of agrochemical pollution runoff into rivers and streams from which people depend upon for potable water.
- Drift from aerial crop dusters lands on villages and rural households who have no legal recourse.
- The falsifying of land ownership documents on a grand scale in order to deliver title to foreign agribusinesses.
- The use of militias to help industrial farming enterprises enforce removal of people whose lands were often taken illegally or unjustly.
- The Brazilian government is largely absent in the rural communities visited, essentially leaving the area to lawlessness.
- The agribusiness companies operating in the areas investigated receive funding from pension funds based in the U.S., Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.
Soybean farming has become a vicious cycle of environmental and human exploitation because of the growing need to feed larger populations. The world’s largest importer of soybeans is China and one of the world’s largest producers of soybeans is Brazil. The financial and agribusiness interests that have moved in to exploit this economic opportunity are doing so without sufficient restraints when it comes to profitmaking.